I Am Close to My Body

“Body Cognition – the method, movement, health, treatment”, by Yosefa Michaeli, Hargol – Am Oved Publishing” 2009, p. 397.


“Are you going to the gym?” I am asked twice a week, and I immediately reply:

“No! I am learning body cognition”.

“Body Cognition – the method, movement, health, treatment” Yosafa Michaeli’s new book is a comprehensive discussion on the school of the unique movement developed by Michaeli since the sixties which has captivated many followers throughout the years.

Body Cognition is not exercise in the conventional sense of the word, but rather an education towards correct body consciousness, with the assumption that it is the right thing for both physical and mental well being. This is born out of a comprehensive perception of the integrated systems operating the body, including its “Achilles heel”, and its functions within the modern life context – vigorous and challenging, as well as under daily pressures.

The goal being “to reach a point where the human body will function like a competent and well tuned instrument”, writes Michaeli, “Just as a machine that is not working rusts and breaks down, a live and complex organism such as the human body requires movement in order to sustain and properly regulate the progression of life”.

The basic concepts of Body Cognition are the consciousness of posture, quality of movement, the importance of rest and soft round transitioning between movements, the central place of breathing, releasing and relaxing in the series of exercises, and of course the fragile balance between our physical envelop and the spirit thriving within us – how the feelings and consciousness delineate and feed the physical realization.

These varied topics are covered throughout the four parts of the book that focuses on the physical conduct and learning its principals, developing movement and posture through group and individual lessons, and an in-depth examination of the human carriage. The book is the ID of the method, and along the detailed theoretical discussion, the specific ways for its practical implementation are described. “The lessons teach how to choose the correct way of conducting the body and sustaining it for the long run, so that the body becomes a source of joy, pleasure and  pleasantness”, writes Yosefa Michaeli.

One may read the chapters in the book consecutively, or, each chapter alone. The book invites the curious souls, ones asking to broaden their minds regarding the connection between body and health, and of course all professionals from the therapeutic fields.  If Maimonides were alive today, it is safe to assume that he would also be a follower of the method. “The body’s perfection comes before the perfection of the soul, and it is like a key opening the hall’s door”, so he said.

Yosefa Michaeli has established a generatin of teachers for the method who work all over the country, among them her son Peled Michaeli (He is seen giving three sample lessons in the dvd attached to the book).

The Body Cognition method is a long term investment and continuous maintenance. Correct movement teaching has the ability to solve common problems such as back pain or shoulder blade problems. I myself arrived at Yosefa’s gate with an injured shoulder to seek relief.

The reward, so I learned, is tested over the face of time, with the belief that the reward comes out of the constant effort and commitment put in, not without its own enjoyment.

“Body Cognition” is meant to mitigate the heavy load we bear in our demanding everyday life: unburden the spine, protect the body’s shock absorbers, prevent injuries and damage before they show up and reduce accumulative orthopedic wear and tear.

Each lesson, the body learns to reach a balance, according to our constant changing needs. It goes through self revelation from a place of reconciliation, and each exercise is executed by specifically detailed instructions and thoughtful conduct. The exercises enrich the variety of movements and broaden the range of muscle and joint movements, particularly those deprived that do not reach utilization. No exercise is random or mechanical and this is not a sport’s training meant to turn us into outstanding athletes or create a competitive bar. Body Cognition educates us towards a correct movement instinct in our ongoing conduct which continues well outside of the lessons – in the real world fraught with stress.

It is often I find myself implementing the method’s principals while driving, or standing in line at the supermarket. Turns out, my body already internalized the method, and the loyal student knows which movement to choose and conducts a subliminal, wise and inspirational communication with the brain. I learned that it is possible to teach the body and learn it simultaneously.

At the end of each lesson I recall the words of the Hebrew poet Abraham Halfi: “How close I am to my body"….



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